By Okon Bassey
As the National Population Commission of Nigeria prepares to embark on its Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise, the Commission has been urged to see the exercise as the fundamental bedrock of any credible national head count.
The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr. Moses Ekpo stated this while addressing officers of the National Population Commission at the Phase Eleven Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) camp, at Abak local government of the state.
He noted that no nation would make any meaningful development without a proper and reliable census figure.
Underscoring the importance of the EAD exercise, Ekpo, a former Federal Commissioner with the National Population Commission was emphatic that given the challenge of the nation’s population and the need for accurate data for planning, the present exercise has become very germane to the issue of development in Nigeria.
He said during his time, the Commission sworn to produce a credible figure of the number of people in Nigeria, rather than depend on estimates from international organisations, in order to fastrack development.
He regretted that for a very long time after the British census, no census in Nigeria had ever been accepted even by Nigerians.
Ekpo, stated categorically that, “the success, the credibility of any census for any country largely depends on the pains you have taken to ensure the Enumeration Area Demarcation is absolutely correct and right.”
He pointed out that no nation could develop by guess-work or estimates as government has to depend on accurate census figures to plan for the development of the country or state.
He, therefore, commended the NPC officials for making a sizeable contribution to Nigeria’s development by paying attention to the details.
“You cannot develop with guess work, you plan with actual numbers,” he stated.
The Deputy Governor said unless there was proper EAD, those doing the real census would find it difficult to count, adding that the work of the EAD Officials was absolutely of great importance for the good of the nation.
“We are tired of being given estimates and I believe that the next census would provide a credible and reliable census for Nigeria,” he stressed.
The deputy governor urged the Enumeration Area Demarcation Officials to be diligent with their work as it could “make or unmake Nigeria”.
He reassured that the Akwa Ibom State government was keen in the success of the exercise in the state.
“We are not living any stone unturned,we will not stop supporting the Commission to succeed”, he stated.
Ekpo, also noted that Akwa Ibom has been under-counted for years and drew attention to the industrial revolution in the state as well as the free education policy of the State Government which he explained has attracted many foreigners to the state.
The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission, Akwa Ibom State, Engr. Benedict Ukpong, announced that 10 phases of the EAD excersise have so far been successfully executed in the State covering eleven Local Government Areas with enourmous support from the state government.
Ukpong said the Commission at the National level has taken adequate steps to carry out the demarcation exercise in preparation for the next Population and Housing Census in the country.
The Commissioner however appealed for support from the State government and other stakeholders to successfully carry out the Phase 11 of the exercise covering Abak, Etim Ekpo and Ika Local Government Areas.